Softball starts season Thursday against Loyola Chicago in Best Western Marina Grand Invitational

Softball starts season Thursday against Loyola Chicago in Best Western Marina Grand Invitational

The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team begins its season on Thursday in what head coach Jake Schumann hopes will be the most successful season to date for both in his time at the school and as a program overall. They start play with a single game against Loyola Chicago at 12 p.m. on Thursday in the opening game of the Best Western Marina Grand Invitational at Chapman Field.

In addition to Loyola Chicago, Cleveland State and Southland Conference member UT Arlington will be playing in the tournament. As a team, the Islanders will play once on Thursday, twice on Friday, against Cleveland State at 1 p.m. and against UT Arlington at 3 p.m., and twice on Saturday with the times being determined by the results from Friday.

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is coming off of its most successful offensive season in school history and will look to repeat the performance at the plate while improving the pitching aspect of the team. To do so, Coach Schumann has brought in one of the premier softball pitchers in the nation to coach the pitchers.

Lisa Norris, a former All-Southeast Region hurler at North Carolina and the winner of the 2010 Diamond Sports Pitcher of the Year, played last season for the Akron Racers and led the league in wins (14), complete games (16), shutouts (four) and innings pitched (137.2). She also had the second-most strikeouts (126) and second-best ERA (1.73) during the regular season.

She will have some new talent to work with as the Islanders do not return any pitchers from last year's 35-22 team. Jordan Trujillo, Greta Cecchetti, Vianca Pesina and Constance Brandenburg will be the four new faces in the circle for the team this year. Trujillo (Pima CC), Cecchetti (Polk State) and Pesina (Alvin CC) are all junior college transfers while Brandenburg is a freshman from nearby Kingsville High School.

The offense from last year set new school records for hits (505), runs scored (316), doubles (91), home runs (38), total bases (732) and walks (159). The team returns all eight of the players from the field and only lose designated player Margo Hurdt due to graduation. Hannah Schwarz, Brittany Tucker, Caley Jeter and Cassie Redman are Preseason First Team All-Southland picks while Sandy Schumann and Kacie Smith are second team members.

Live stats and video will be available for all games of the tournament by visiting

Tournament Schedule

Thursday, Feb. 10

12:00 PM -Islanders vs. Loyola Chicago 3:00 PM - Cleveland State vs. UT Arlington

Friday, Feb. 11

9:00 AM - UT Arlington vs. Cleveland State 1:00 PM - Islanders vs. Cleveland State

11:00 AM - Cleveland State vs. Loyola Chicago 3:00 PM - Islanders vs. UT Arlington

Saturday Feb. 12

9:00 AM - Seed 2 vs. Seed 3 1:00 PM - Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser

11:00 AM - Seed 1 vs. Seed 4 3:00 PM - Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner